A plan to build 17 flats and two studio apartments next to Norwood Junction train station has been submitted.
The proposal, submitted by DHA Planning, would see the vacant J.R Immigration building and the two adjoining buildings that sit on Clifford Road to be partially demolished and replaced with “modern” living spaces. Within the application, a heritage statement was submitted that described the current buildings as “currently vacant and derelict, being in poor decorative and structural repair having previously been in use as industrial, warehouse and office use”. The Maidstone planning group submitted its proposal on October 2.
Last October a planning application was submitted to develop the site, but in February of this year it was refused. The heritage statement read: “This application was refused for a variety of reasons including some which were heritage based. [The refusal] noted that the extensions and alterations to the buildings would not preserve, enhance or respect those qualities that contribute to the character of the conservation area. [It also noted] that the siting, massing layout, and appearance of the extensions would result in an overdevelopment of the site and would be out of character with the existing buildings.”
In comparison to the current buildings, the application proposes a more modern appearance for the homes. The planning statement said: “The proposed extensions are proposed to be of modern design, with an industrial character to reflect the historic uses of the site.” It added: “The development will increase the vitality and viability of the town centre.” Of these modern units, the planning statement commits to providing 10 affordable units on the site.
A nearby resident to the buildings Sam Blainey thinks it would be good to see them put to use. The 32-year-old said: “I walk past every day on my way to work and I think something can be done with it. It is good that something positive could come of it. I think anything that replaces that building would benefit the area. It’s a bit of an eyesore when it’s the first thing people see when they leave the train station.”
A decision on the application will be made by the council in due course.